USA Cares to stream annual patriotic gala online

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Source: USA Cares

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Instead of a formal, in-person event this year, attendees can take part in the 2020 USA Cares Gala from home.

“With COVID-19 continuing to impact people and countries around the world, we’ve had to make a few changes to our biggest night of the year,” said Heather Moses, Development Director at USA Cares.

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Instead, USA Cares will stream its 2020 Virtual Gala on YouTube and Facebook live on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 P.M. The online event will celebrate USA Cares’ 17 years of service to our heroes, honor veterans and military families, and raise funds to support those struggling from the adverse effects of service.

“Doing our annual Gala in a virtual format is certainly a first for us. However, we’re excited that by broadcasting this year’s Gala on YouTube and Facebook, one of Louisville’s most unique and patriotic events of the year will now be accessible to more guests than ever before,” said Moses.

Organizers hope more people will take part in the gala this year. Due to the pandemic, Aubrey Gonzalez, Communications Manager for USA Cares says, the current unmet needs of military men and women have grown substantially.

“Since March, we have experienced a significantly higher volume of requests for emergency aid, most of which were triggered by COVID-19. Veterans who suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression, and anxiety are at higher risk of veteran suicide, and we have been working relentlessly to provide relief to our heroes and their children during this challenging time,” explained Gonzalez.

Despite the change in format, the annual tradition of paying tribute to veterans, service members, and their families while raising funds to support to them in their hour of need remains the same. There’s also a few extra perks for attendees this year.

Guests who pre-register online HERE will receive a virtual swag bag full of freebies, coupons, and other content on the day of the Gala.

Tickets to this year’s Gala are free and participants can attend the online event regardless of location.

Guests will have an opportunity to bid on various items and luxury experiences in live and silent auctions, enter raffles to win several prized bourbons, and more. Additionally, the program will feature a live “bidding for good” virtual paddle raise, where guests are encouraged to make a life-changing donation to support military families, all from their computers or mobile devices.

All proceeds will support USA Cares’ mission to provide post-9/11 military veterans, service members, and their families with emergency financial assistance and post-service skills training. USA Cares’ services improve veterans and their families’ quality of life and reduce potential factors that can contribute to veteran suicide.

You can read more about USA Cares HERE.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!